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Demographic-Fiscal Model of the Growth and Collapse of Agrarian States

The Demographic-Structural theory is an empirically derived theory of the breakdown and collapse of agrarian states, originally posited by Jack Goldstone's (1991) work on Early Modern Engalnd, France, the Ottoman Empire, and Ming China. Pulling together opposing Marxist and Malthusian expanations of state collapse, the Demographic Structural theory suggests that population pressure among the general populace and among elites places fiscal pressures on the state. When the state becomes insolvent...
02 Oct 2016

Malthusian Population Growth and Crisis in Pre-Industrial Agrarian Societies

Most models of Malthusian population dynamics specify logistic growth to a carrying capacity, but the historical record of agrarian societies strongly suggests that repeated cycles of overshoot and collapse (so-called "Malthusian crises") are endogenous to population dynamics (see Nefedov, 2013 for details and citations). In this model, Nefedov (2013) explicitly models harvest surplus production as the carrying capacity of an agricultural population. When population pressure drives the...
01 Oct 2016

New Kingdom Egyptian Agriculture

Situated in the Nile Valley from Aswan to the Mediterranean, New Kingdom Egypt (c.1550-1050 B.C.) had an agrarian economy - almost entirely dependent on agriculture for subsistence. Because the climate was too dry for rain-fed farming, all agriculture was restricted to the narrow Nile Valley floodplain. However, due to spatio-temporal fluctuations in Nile flood levels, the amount of water (and thus arable land) in New Kingdom Egypt could also fluctuate greatly. In order to mitigate the risks...
09 Aug 2016